vermont works for women career fair booth

My Internship: Adventures From Day One

by Sarah Wilkinson, Class of ’17

Dear Savvy Interns,

Day one of any new job is terrifying. I woke up before my 7 AM alarm clock this morning on my first day at my new internship and just laid in bed with butterflies in my stomach until it was time to get up. I still couldn’t wait for my alarm and got up a full two minutes early. I had picked out my outfit the night before, so getting ready took hardly no time at all. I did my morning yoga routine and had my breakfast. I’d cooked lunch the night before and packed it up. I grabbed everything I needed, including all my onboarding materials like passport and license, and got into my shared car with my mom and sister. You heard that right: one car, two full-time jobs. We’re making it work and hopefully, I’ll have a car of my own early next week. A big-girl job/internship requires a big-girl car/car payment.

I got there thirty minutes early, parked in the wrong place even though I knew better from my accidental luck with parking on interview day. I couldn’t find the right office, so Phillip sent Melissa, one of his marketing employees, to lead me up. She told me I looked nice while we were in the elevator and that made me feel a little more at ease. Immediately walking into the office, I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of cubicles and nicely dressed middle-aged professionals. I stood up a little taller and told myself that I belonged there too.

After doing all my hiring paperwork with human resources, I was sent off to do a “brain dump” where I researched the company, formulated a list of questions, and came up with possible project ideas for myself. It was a tall order for the first task on my first day, but I managed to compile a pretty good list while Phillip, my supervisor, figured out how he’d occupy my time for the rest of the day. He’s a great manager, I can tell already, but he’s got a million things going on and it can be easy to let some things slip through the cracks. I did my best throughout the day to keep myself busy by observing or researching to make his life easier.

After my brain dump, I sat with Melissa and Jessica, the people who got stuff down for the marketing department, as they showed me what they did every day. Jessica is more on the tech end of the marketing department and Melissa¬†does the event planning and design. Both of them made me feel very welcomed and didn’t get annoyed when I asked seemingly-dumb questions. I got a very thorough introduction into what the company does and how the marketing department helps achieve the overall sales goals. By the end of the day, I felt like I’d gotten a week’s worth of information.

But I’m jumping ahead of myself. Lunch time came next, where I broke the unspeakable rule of bringing fish, making the whole office stink up. I sat with Melissa and Jessica and met everyone who came in (I even managed to meet the company president as he ate pretzels). I saw someone’s underwear. It was very eventful. I met way too many people and forgot all their names immediately (sorry).

By the afternoon, I’d found my footing a little bit. Melissa was working on an advertorial, an advertisement made to look like a newspaper editorial, and asked me to edit what the copywriter had produced. I spent the first few minutes looking dumbfounded at it, scared to make any changes lest they be “dumb.” But then I found my groove and made some great edits. This weekend, that advertorial will run in the newspaper.

I also worked on editing a series of emails, even writing a new one from scratch that the company sends out to prospective clients, and that took me to the end of the day. I managed to find work for myself without much direction on the first day and threw jokes back at my coworkers like I’d been there much longer. When they all found out I was only 19, they were shocked. Carrying yourself professionally goes a long way, evidently.

We all ended up walking down to our cars together. I got in and buckled up and let all the pent-up fear I’d had about the job go. I’d been scared to work full-time because I wouldn’t like it; I let that go. I gave myself permission to enjoy myself for the summer and to try and learn as much as possible. The days of idly sitting by as life just happened to me were over.

If you want the most out of life, you have to take it by the horns and dig your heels in. That’s what I learned from my first day at my internship.

Also, wedges are cute, but man do they hurt.

I think I’ll call that a success.